This is why I don’t like to predict a winner after the first round. Sure, Pornanong Phatlum is still perched atop the leaderboard after two rounds at 9-under and could still very well lead from wire to wire, taking home the trophy. However, at the midway point of the 2013 Lorena Ochoa Invitational, Waen has been joined at the summit by two LPGA Major winners, So Yeon Ryu (2011 US Women’s Open) and Anna Nordqvist (2009 LPGA Championship). There is also a trio of players one shot back that includes Player of the Year leader Inbee Park, along with Lexi Thompson and Gerina Piller. It looks to be anybody’s race the last two days unless somebody separates themselves from the pack on moving day. So Yeon and Anna were both very impressive with matching 6 birdie, 1 bogey 5-under 67s. But the round of the day went to Lexi. The 2-time LPGA winner showed why most believe there are handfuls of trophies to come in her future, blistering the Guadalajara Country Club course with clean an 8 birdie, no bogeys 8-under 64. Considering her sizzling play and that she won last month at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, everybody in contention better take a peek at the leaderboard to see if Lexi tries to pull away on Saturday. Should that happen, somebody might have to try to take some risks in order to reel Thompson in…if they can.
Gerina Miller had the second best round of the day at 7-under 65. She’s tied for 4th. It was great to see her make her Solheim Cup debut this year. It would be terrific to see her grab her maiden LPGA victory as well.
Two shots separate Inbee Park (-8) and Suzann Pettersen (-6). Although I personally take issue with a point system where a person who has won 3 Majors and 6 overall victories could possibly lose the Player of the Year race to a player with less overall victories and Majors I have no choice but to sit back and enjoy the theater of such a close competition. It just shouldn’t be close. If Inbee loses, and I am not picking favorites…I like Inbee and Suzann…while having more Majors and victories than the winner, I think it hurts the credibility of this tour I love. Many people who don’t follow the LPGA closely will look at such a result with the kind of puzzlement and incredulity usually reserved for boxing decisions where the three judges see a completely different fight than everybody else. Wow, after all that complaining it might seem I have made a mistake filing this under “BIRDIES”…well, I just mean it’s positive in the sense that I don’t like that it’s a close race…it shouldn’t be…but since the system can’t be fixed during the season, I will make lemonade out of lemons and enjoy the drama. Oh, and by the way, I am a lifelong tennis fan so I get the argument about consistent finishes versus big wins. However, in 2010 Caroline Wozniacki played a lot of tournaments and won the most events. She was ranked #1 at the end of the year. But Kim Clijsters played almost 1/3 fewer events, but won the US Open and WTA Tour Championships. The players voted Clijsters WTA Player of the Year. I completely agreed with that vote. The Inbee-Suzann situation is even more tilted, in my mind, to Inbee with 6 victories and 3 Majors. Still, since the point system allows no discretion or common sense, it remains what it is.
Back to positivity, we best not forget world #3 Stacy Lewis. She is only 3 shots back and in fine position to make a weekend charge. With all eyes on Inbee and Suzann, it could be that Stacy reminds us all that not too long ago she was the dominant #1 player in the world.
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SO YEON RYU
IN KYUNG KIM
JODI EWART SHADOFF
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